It makes me weepy.
I know this isn't unusual, a lot of moms get weepy and snuffly at back-to-school time. But for me, it goes a little deeper than "My babies are growing up". For me, there is a whole lot of "Thank you, God, for their health" thrown in too.
See, my dudes were born early. Waaaaaaaaaay early. They were born at 25 or 26 weeks, depending on whether you ask my obstetrician or the neo-natologist. Either way, they were born too early. Like, eyes still fused shut, lungs not completely ready, teeny tiny, not-done-cooking EARLY.
Here's what they looked like then:
|Please do not adust your monitor. This is Thing 2, a couple of days old, under the bilirubin lights.|
|Thing 1, a day old.|
|1 and a half months old - still a lot of tubes and wires.|
|I look like I'm 12 years old in this picture.|
And they were almost always happy.
|About a year and a half old.|
As they grew older they started catching up. The gaps between their development and "normal" (how I hate that word) development grew smaller. They started looking a lot more like other kids their own age. More importantly, they were happy, curious, amazing boys.
But they beat the odds. They're amazing, wonderful, perfect. Every mother thinks her children are miracles. But mine are. We had a rough couple of years, but none of the things that were supposed to go wrong did. Now, you'd never know by looking at them that they were born so very early, and were so very sick, and had so many factors working against them.
Here they are now:
|Thing 1. A little more serious than his brother, and he doesn't particularly enjoy photo shoots.|
|Thing 2. Always, always, this happy. My little ray of sunshine.|
My sons are awesome. Friendly, helpful, and so smart it's scary. People stop me in public to say how smart and amazing they are but they don't even know. They have no idea how truly amazing these kids are, and how far they've come.
Now, I'm watching a dear friend go through a similar situation with her teeny tiny son. I'm so proud of her, and so sad for her, and so scared for her that I'm surprised I'm not dizzy with it. I wish for ways to help, for something I can do, because I know what she's going through. I've sat in the NICU and stared at my tiny baby through plastic and not been able to touch. I've watched machines breathe for them. And I've had to face the same worries that she and her husband are facing now - worries about what's to come.
But I've also seen pictures of her little guy, and I can tell already that he is every bit as stubborn as my boys. And she and her husband are just as determined as I was.
So I'm pretty sure he's gonna be just fine.
Wow. I need to go blow my nose now.